Detroit, (April 6, 2022) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) today announced the appointment of Na’Zir McFadden as its new Assistant Conductor and Phillip and Lauren Fisher Community Ambassador, to commence with the 2022-2023 season. McFadden will also serve as Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra.
Hailing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, McFadden has garnered attention for his dynamic presence on the podium. Currently the inaugural Apprentice Conductor of the Philadelphia Ballet Orchestra, McFadden also served as the 2020-21 Robert L. Poster Conducting Apprentice of the New York Youth Symphony. Conducting highlights include a recording project with musicians from the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, at the invitation of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as part of the CSO’s “Notes for Peace” program. Additionally, he was featured in a pop-up performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra. McFadden has collaborated with prominent artists including Hilary Hahn, Riccardo Muti, and Cliff Colnot. An accomplished clarinetist, he is a co-founder and member of the Philadelphia-based wind quintet Opus(215), and recently won his first professional audition with the United States Navy Band.
“I am thrilled to welcome Na’Zir McFadden to the DSO as Assistant Conductor and Phillip and Lauren Fisher Community Ambassador,” said Music Director Jader Bignamini. “Na’Zir is a very talented and charismatic conductor, and I was immediately impressed with his musicality and professionalism when rehearsing with the orchestra. I am also very happy that he received the offer to be Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra, where he will be able to help develop the next generation of musicians.”
“It is truly a great honor to be named the new Assistant Conductor and Phillip and Lauren Fisher Community Ambassador of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra,” said McFadden. “Not only have I been inspired by the stellar performances given by the DSO through the years, but also by its commitment to preserving the highest of artistic standards while imagining a new bright future for classical music. I am eager to work and learn alongside Music Director Jader Bignamini and the many guest conductors who will visit the DSO.”
As Assistant Conductor and Phillip and Lauren Fisher Community Ambassador, McFadden will work closely with Music Director Jader Bignamini and guest conductors on both the PVS Classical Series and the William Davidson Neighborhood Concert Series. In addition to providing valuable support during rehearsals, he will lead pre-concert lectures at Orchestra Hall, and conduct a variety of programs on the Educational Concert Series, Young People’s Family Concert Series, and PNC Pops series, as well as select programs throughout the community, including DTE Community Concerts.
McFadden will also serve as Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra (DSYO) under the DSO’s Civic Youth Ensembles (CYE). Founded in 1970, the DSYO is CYE’s premier youth orchestra. Through advanced orchestral repertoire, students are challenged to perform at professional levels, to strive for advanced musicianship, and to continue to enhance their superior technical and musical ensemble playing. McFadden succeeds Oriol Sans in the role, who has held the position since 2016.
“I am equally excited to become the Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra,” said McFadden. “Together, we will explore diverse programming, collaborate with guest artists, and introduce new opportunities within music outside of playing our instruments. I am so excited for the upcoming season and look forward to making Detroit my new home!”
About Na’Zir McFadden
Na’Zir McFadden, 21, is the is the inaugural Apprentice Conductor of the Philadelphia Ballet Orchestra. Most recently, McFadden was invited by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) to direct its “Notes for Peace” program, an initiative to combat youth gun violence in the greater Chicago area. Working alongside musicians of the CSO Civic Orchestra and the Chicago Recording Company, he recorded a series of new works, each dedicated to families impacted by acts of senseless violence.
McFadden served as the 2020-2021 Robert L. Poster Conducting Apprentice of the New York Youth Symphony. During his time with the orchestra, he recorded two new compositions, available on SoundCloud and YouTube. In February 2017, McFadden made his Pop-Up debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra. Following this performance, The Philadelphia Inquiry praised McFadden for his “great stick [baton] technique and energetic presence on the podium.”
McFadden has collaborated with some of classical music’s top artists including Hillary Hahn, Ricardo Muti, Beatrice Jona Affron, and Cliff Colnot. Upcoming engagements include an appearance with Orchestra 2001of Philadelphia.
McFadden maintains a flourishing conducting schedule and continues to develop his skills as a classically trained instrumentalist, currently serving as clarinetist in the Philadelphia-based wind quintet Opus(215), of which he is also a founding member. At the age of 21, McFadden won his first professional audition as a clarinetist in the United States Navy Band.
McFadden has performed with The Peoria Symphony Orchestra, Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra, Lakeview Symphony Orchestra, Center City Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and National Take a Stand Festival Orchestra. He served as Guest Principal Clarinetist in the Bacau Philharmonic during the summer of 2019.
McFadden is a dual recipient of the Fresh Smiles Career Grant (2017, 2018) and was invited to speak on behalf of the organization at the American Friends of Italy gala. Additionally, he received artistic direction and financial support from the Primavera Fund, Project 440, and Philadelphia Music Alliance for Youth.